I started crying in the middle of a department store today. Yep, in Jerusalem, there we were, buying olive-colored shirts and grey wicking socks, for our son — about to begin his mandatory military service in the Israeli Defense Forces.

Pride? Sure. Zionism? Absolutely. But for this mother, as I assume for many others, the emotions get mixed and sometimes (see above: on line at the checkout counter) overpower the rational and ideological knowledge that he is doing what is right. What is good. What generations of Jews prayed for, from the four corners of the earth.

Our generation is blessed to be born into a free Jewish state. We do not know the ravages of war in a foreign land, with nowhere to turn and no sovereign to save you. Not long ago, that was reality; now we send our beloved sons and husbands to mandatory military service that fills our communities with pride and camraderie.

Shabbat synagogue service includes a special prayer for the safety of our IDF forces. I’m pretty sure I’ll be teary-eyed again when we get to that part next week. And the week after, for the foreseeable future. Whether you’re a parent or a kid, far or near, join with me in praying for the safe return of all our boys and for the flourishing of our precious State of Israel, a beacon and a homeland which we are prepared to defend.

And meanwhile, get out the tissues.